Negative cell-cycle regulators cooperatively control self-renewal and differentiation of haematopoietic stem cells


Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are capable of shifting from a state of relative quiescence under homeostatic conditions to rapid proliferation under conditions of stress. The mechanisms that regulate the relative quiescence of stem cells and its association with self-renewal are unclear, as is the contribution of molecular regulators of the cell cycle to these decisions. Understanding the mechanisms that govern these transitions will provide important insights into cell-cycle regulation of HSCs and possible therapeutic approaches to expand HSCs. We have investigated the role of two negative regulators of the cell cycle, p27Kip1 and MAD1, in controlling this transition. Here we show that Mad1−/−p27Kip1−/− bone marrow has a 5.7-fold increase in the frequency of stem cells, and surprisingly, an expanded pool of quiescent HSCs. However, Mad1−/−p27Kip1−/− stem cells exhibit an enhanced proliferative response under conditions of stress, such as cytokine stimulation in vitro and regeneration of the haematopoietic system after ablation in vivo. Together these data demonstrate that the MYC-antagonist MAD1 and cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27Kip1 cooperate to regulate the self-renewal and differentiation of HSCs in a context-dependent manner.

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Figure 1: Expansion of the phenotypic stem cell population in Mad1−/− p27Kip1−/− bone marrow.
Figure 2: Increased numbers of long-term repopulating cells following loss of MAD1 and p27Kip1.
Figure 3: Increased quiescent stem cell pool in Mad1−/− and Mad1−/− p27Kip1−/− bone marrow under homeostatic conditions.
Figure 4: Loss of both MAD1 and p27Kip1 enhanced recovery of haemopoiesis in vivo under conditions of stress.


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We thank E. Sitnicka and C. Li for discussion and critical comment, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Animal Facility Staff for care of experimental animals, FACS staff for assistance with FACS sorting. C.R.W. is a recipient of an Australian Postgraduate Award. This work was supported by grants from the National Health & Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC) to G.A.M and L.E.P.

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Correspondence to Louise E. Purton or Grant A. McArthur.

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